Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Production line

Day three of starving my girls, well not actually starving them just making them live off the grain they wasted. It has not affected their laying, in fact they started to go down in eggs and now have come back up. I think the exercise of scratching around does them good. I put the feeder back this evening and adjusted it to the smallest hole, it is much harder for them to get the grain out and they seem to be eating what comes out instead of tossing it onto the floor. Today is warm, almost ten degrees above freezing. I thought I was going to be able to let them out but sadly there is a sheet of thick ice in their yard so there was no point in letting them out. I happened to be in there while production was in progress and I always love to watch them go about their business.

Lucy, Queen of the flock.

This picture made me laugh, almost as if she is saying "go away, can't you see I'm laying"! That cross looking stare means business... but only to the other hens. I never thought that I would have as good a bond with these girls as I did when I was a kid with pet hens. However they trust me.

Petting Lucy.

I can pet them while laying and there is no fuss, I have never harmed them and feed them treats out of my hand so there is no fear of me taking their eggs. A tip for new people, hens really love when you take your finger and gently stroke downwards on their waddles under their chin. I moved when taking this picture so sorry a bit fuzzy. Today Lucy showed a lot of attention towards her egg and was very aggressive towards any hen that came near, she even put up her feathers and screeched like a brooding hen. Usually hybrids do not hatch, it has been bred out of them but I have heard of it happening. It would be interesting if Lucy hatched some chicks, they certainly would be safe, I would never have to worry about another hen touching them.

Gertrude decides to join the production line.

It is funny how the girls will stay by me in case of treats but then suddenly when it is time, then it is time and they go off to lay. The red girls are so laid back (no pun intended) they all get along with each other and are like best friends or sisters, I only wish the guy had more than four, even though I like the different colour hens I have now, it would have been a real joy to have six or eight relaxed kind hearted red girls. Some times the reds get along so well that you will find two or three laying in the same box together.

Diane also joining the others to lay.

Not sure what to do, Diane wants to lay as well however Lucy (black hen) is in the favorite nest. Most of the eggs will be laid in the end nest that Lucy is in, however Diane is afraid of Lucy and so will not risk a pecking.

Diane tries the third nest.

I like this shot, full production and by the end of the day I would get five eggs out of the six girls. The last nest is the least favorite nest and they almost never use it. I guess because it is by the door they feel it is less private. I held the camera a little sideways but the nests are not tilted, it just looks that way from my bad handling of the camera, I had to keep hiding it so that they would not think it was a treat and stop laying.

Petting Diane while laying.

Diane likes to make a perfect nest, not like the others who just get in and lay, Diane spends a long time placing the straw just right. As I was saying about the red girls, they are the most relaxed on life as a chicken could get. This is an example, here Diane is in the middle nest where Gertrude had just been. Diane did not want to use the least favorite nest and so crawled in with Gertrude. The two girls laid their eggs, stayed in there together for twenty minutes and Gertrude left to eat. Diane is much higher in the pecking order than Gertrude and could have easily kicked her out, however she, as usual did not harm Gertrude and just shared the nest with her. Lucy and Melda would never allow that, they would fight over the nest, even with each other. Funny but most people think that chickens just eat, poop and lay, they don't know there is a whole chicken society going on, I think that is why when people get some as pets, they often get hooked.


Amy said...

I am totally hooked with our chickens, Steven would have hundreds given the chance...ours eat treats out of our hands, some people think we are nuts treating them the way we do, they think "oh they are only chickens" but we love them and they are really friendly "pets".
Got my third egg today!!...yes i have only got two all thanks to me dropping one!...thanks for the comment that the smashed one was my breakfast!! We had a laugh reading that!!

Take care Amy :)

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Amy: If I had the space I would have fifty or so! I would also like to have ducks, they make nice pets, also I'd like to try turkeys and Guinea hens but I don't have the room so that is just a daydream for me.
I know what you mean when people say they are "just chickens" but we both know they are a lot smarter than most cage birds that people keep as pets, maybe even smarter than some of those yappy lap dogs!
Glad I could give you guys a smile, I figured hey why not, it probably was already scrambled! XD